I knew something terrible had happened, says mum

“I knew something terrible had happened,” the mother of a woman who was killed in her home with her three sons told an inquest yesterday.

I knew something terrible had happened, says mum

At the inquest into the deaths of the Hawe family in Co Cavan in August of last year, Mary Coll, mother of Clodagh Hawe, said she found a note on the back door of her daughter’s house for gardaí to be called.

She also revealed a sense of foreboding that her daughter, 39, and grandchildren Liam, 13, Niall, 11, and Ryan, 6, had been killed by her son-in-law, Alan Hawe, at their home on Sunday, August 28, 2016.

A tearful Mrs Coll said the Hawe family had visited her Virginia home and had tea and coffee that Sunday night after Liam had won a basketball match earlier that afternoon.

In her statement, Mrs Coll said that Alan and Clodagh drank tea in the kitchen and talked generally. She said she wished Alan well in going back to work as Castlerahan National School vice principal, which, she thought, “he was not looking forward to”.

Clodagh Hawe told her mother that she was going to drop off the two younger boys to her mother the next morning at around 8.30am as she, too, was going back to work.

Mrs Coll waited at her home until after 9am and then rang Alan’s phone, believing that Clodagh might be driving.

She then texted and rang both Clodagh and Alan’s phone asking if “everything was ok”.

After getting no response, she went to the family home in Ballyjamesduff, as she had a key to the back door.

However, when Mrs Coll arrived, she saw the curtains drawn found a note on the inside of the back door’s window reading: “Don’t come in. Call the gardaí.”

Mrs Coll rang 999 at 10.40am and waited with a neighbour for gardaí to arrive.

Mrs Coll said: “‘I thought it could be carbon monoxide. I saw the note. I knew it was Alan’s handwriting. I knew something terrible had happened. I just had that feeling.”

Garda Alan Ratcliffe and Garda Aisling Walsh arrived on the scene at 11.19am and entered the house.

Gda Ratcliffe entered the house and discovered Mrs Hawe lying in the sitting room. He saw a pool of blood under and around her and found a knife and a “small axe” on the floor next to her.

He found Mr Hawe’s body in the hallway.

The garda went upstairs and discovered the two elder boys in bed, under their duvets, with head and neck injuries visible.

He then went to another bedroom and saw the Hawe’s youngest, Ryan, in his bed. Another knife was found next to him on the bed.

Garda Aisling Walsh broke down and wiped away tears as she recalled the scene.

“They had no signs of life,” she told the hearing. “They had their duvets on them.”

Coronor Mary Flanagan spoke directly to Garda Walsh as she tried to compose herself: “Nobody can imagine what it was like that morning.”

Gardaí also told the hearing that a number of jewellery boxes were neatly piled on the centre of the bed in the master bedroom.

Detective John Grant told the jury of five women and one man that he and his technical team photographed and videoed the scene.

The detective witnessed a second note written on an envelope on the kitchen table which was placed next to another letter.

Inside the envelope were three handwritten A4 sheets. There were bloodstains on some of the letters.

Anyone affected by this incident

can contact Samaritans on 116 123, Pieta House on 1800 247 247,

Childline on 1800 66 66 66, or text

‘support’ to 50101, and Women’s Aid

on 1800 341 900.

News: 2

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